Argentina recently made a splash in the Hong Kong wine scene with their Decanter World Wine Award 2011 success. Last August and September reflected that with numerous label launches and wine events for Argentinean wines by local merchants, such as Trivento Bodegas Y Vinedos, Bodega Chacra, and Coleccion Fincas. Roberto Luka, former president of Wines of Argentina and owner of Finca Sophenia and Susana Balbo, nicknamed the “Evita of wine”, led the wave with hosting master classes and wine dinners in Hong Kong last September.
But how to break into the emerging Asian market? Roberto Luka explained how Argentina’s wine industry, shared equally by export-driven corporate conglomerates and quality-driven family-owned boutique wineries, will soon be launching an extensive marketing campaign in Asia, specifically China- including the establishment of a Wines of Argentina office in Beijing. He also saw the likelihood of more New-Old World joint ventures in Argentina, such as the creation of Bodegas Caro Catena and Rothschild in 1998 – as Baron Eric de Rothschild put it,“An association between two cultures, two families and two grapes”.
TheDecanter World Wine Awardsconfirmed Argentina’s place in the future, winning the most International Trophies of any single country in the history of the competition. Among the 25 International Trophies chosen from over 12,000,Argentina took a total of 5 places. The Red Blend Over £10 Trophy won byFinca Sophenia’s iconic label, Synthesis, was featured at their Hong Kong master class on September 20th. This recent victory drives Luka to take more proactive steps in carving a larger market share in the growing world market, particularly in Asia. On defining the character of Argentina wines for an Asian audience, he stressed that he would like to see his country’s wines to build a reputation for intensity and expressivity, while not losing its special touch of drinkability and friendliness.
Argentina’s unique geography and the stylistic diversity of her wines was highlighted as a key factor in giving expressivity to Argentinean wines- along the foothill of the Andes Range, one can find the world’s highest planted vineyards reaching up to a towering 5000 feet altitude in the Uco Valley in Lujan de Cuyo- andan average altitude of 3000 feetacross the rest of the Argentinean wine regions. It is this 2000 feet difference, Luka claimed, that gives Argentinean wines its broad stylistic spectrum – from lower-altitude red-fruit dominant wines with its ripened sweetness, to higher-altitude dark-fruit dominant wines loaded with pungent spices.
Argentina’s well-earned victory in Decanter World Wine Awards 2011 showed the international recognition of the South American wine industry’s insistence on quality improvements. With Argentina’s wines coming at good value when compared to others on the market, there can be little doubt that this region will gain increasing popularity in Asia, especially among Hong Kong’s value-conscious drinkers. Salud!